|The country end of Sweetbriar Lane!|
|Stanhope Road meets The Crown.|
At the bend arrived a backwater lane which for centuries had wound its way past hamlets and villages, supporting the tiny rural population needing access to the town market and its parish church. In the 1750s a small toll house appeared at the junction, roughly where the postbox is today. Travellers from now on would be entering and using a privately run highway, a turnpike road. Inevitably it did not take long for a few travellers with carts or animals to find ways around the problem, avoiding the junction, possibly with the agreement of the landowner, or possibly not.
|A roundabout of sorts at The Crown.|
Courtesy St Albans' Museums
It probably wasn't surprising, therefore, that when the wedge of land we know as Stanhope and Granville roads was being developed a road connection between Hatfield Road and Victoria Street was created, with the junction just a few yards before the toll house! By the time the road was laid, however, the turnpiked Hatfield Road was taken over by the Highways Board and the tolls dispensed with. Drive today from Hatfield Road east, turn left and then sharp right into Stanhope Road, and then imagine trying the same manoeuvre with larger carts or carriages with two or even four horses. Not surprising, therefore, that a new roadway sprang up (still there today) to leave Hatfield Road obliquely, and in front of The Crown Hotel (the road was there first; The Crown arrived later). All of which created a little crossroads. Not much of a problem before homes began to appear, but it's not surprising that the little road in front of The Crown was eventually closed, although it was useful in creating an informal roundabout at one stage.
|The park once included all of this street area; at least the|
building of the toilets opened up a view for motorists
looking right. Courtesy St Albans' Museums
As you see, rather a messy junction.